The energy nutrient – Magnesium

Magnesium is probably the nutrient that is being supplemented the most nowdays. Why is that? Because magnesium is involved in everything!!! Let’s dive into the energy nutrient, mangnesium.

What does magnesium do?

  1. It let’s use the energy required for every process in our body.
  2. It is used for the production of every single protein.
  3. It helps with fatigue.
  4. It helps with asthma and migraines.
  5. It helps with better sleep.

Energy is required for literally everything. Breating and even resting require energy and more importantly keeping everything in it’s right order on a cellural level. Creating energy in the form of ATP is step one, but the body has also to distribute and use this energy. This can’t be done without magensium! The B vitamins are fundamental in energy metabolism and making ATP. What magnesium does is stabilize the ATP molecules and allows the utilization of them.

The importance of this can be demonstrated by two examples.

  • Calcium allows for muscle contraction. When the muscles rest, calcium is stored away so that it isn’t always triggering muscle contraction. If calcium were randomly distributed, the muscles could be contracting randomly, or stay contracted all the time. Fact is, the tremors of Parkinson’s result from a decline in the energy spent controlling muscular contraction.
  • Intense physical activity is the highest-energy state. Afterwards we might spend less energy, but the is not really a low-energy state. We might be having muscular tension, cramps, and poorly controlled activities such as spasms. This is what happens when we fail to produce and utilize enough energy.

The magnesium and calcium correlation.

Let’s continue with calcium, since it is strongly correlated with magnesium

Since calcium is the on-switch for muscle contraction, we need to keep it regulated to prevent it from causing constant or irregular contraction. This requires energy, and everything that requires energy (or ATP) requires magnesium.

In case of magnesium deficiency, calcium isn’t being stored properly and muscles start twitching, spasming, or cramping, and the heart may skip beats, flutter, or beat irregularly. The will cause alsoo a calcuim deficiency which also lead to neurological dysfunction. In other scenarios a magnesium deficiency can contribute to heart disease and kidney stones. If calcium is winding up in kidney stones and blood vessels where it doesn’t belong, there is less available for the bones and teeth. That can contribute to osteoporosis. On the other side of the spectrum magnesium deficiency can also hurt the kidney’s ability to get rid of excess sodium. The excess sodium can raise blood pressure and contribute to swelling, known medically as edema.

A visious circle!

Magnesium and sleep

People with low magnesium often experience restless sleep waking frequently during the night. Getting magnesium before sleep can lead to deeper, better sleep. This is related to magnesium supporting GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and relaxation.

How do we get enough magnesium?

The RDA is pretty clear and well researched. The RDA for adult men is 400 milligrams per day (mg/d) and for adult women it is 310 mg/d. As with most vitamins and minerals, the RDA is making sure to have a stable level but perhaps more magnesium has benefecial effects.

Considering the KetOntrack approach to health the below foods are the best magnesium rich foods.

  • 100 grams of seaweeds will give your the reccomented amount.
  • 100 grams of pumpkin or squash seeds.
  • 100 grams of rice.
  • 200 grams of peanuts, peanut butter, sesame seeds and sesame products (Tahini), flax, chia seeds, almonds.
  • 400 grams of cod, salmon
  • 400 grams of various beans and nuts: fava, white, kidney, walnuts, macademia
  • Going further down the nutritional density we find cheese, spinash, beet greens, chickpeas, lentils, beef and most vegetables.

It is quite important to mention about spices. The more spices you use the more magnesium they will add to your diet.


From the above it seems now logical why so many people reach out to supplements to cover their magnesium needs.

  • However, assessing magnesium levels is difficult because most magnesium is inside cells or bones. The most commonly used method for assessing magnesium status is measurement of serum magnesium concentration.
  • Magnesium deficiency is uncommon because the kidneys limit excretion of this mineral. However, low intakes for a prongled periods of time, chronic alcoholism, can lead to deficiency.

There are many magnesium supplements but I would suggest that magnesium citrate is the easiest option that is well absorbed. I would also recommend epsom salth baths. I have personally used them with quite good effects especially as a relaxation mechanism before sleep.

Key Takeaways

  • Magnesium is needed to support protein synthesis and energy use, which in turn supports everything in the body.
  • It helps keeping energy levels-up and be relaxed.
  • It prevents muscle tension, cramping, and irregular heartbeats.
  • It supports calcium with buiding healthy bones and teeth.
  • The best sources are nuts and seeds.
  • When suppleementing take magnesium with calcium together

Further Reading

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